Specialist organisers of barn dance bands, ceilidh bands and folk/dance/concert groups throughout the UK

© 2018 Jigs 'n' Reels

Jigs 'n' Reels, 'Homeleigh', Claphill Lane, Rushwick, Worcester WR2 5TP

Call or Text brief enquiry to 0788 788 7917

Chris Mulvey,Ceilidh and Barn Dance Caller - Just background stuff

Just thought you might want to know who you are dealing with ! The internet is so full of 'scammers' these days.I'll try to keep it brief !

Chris Mulvey'When I were a lad',a teenager,actually - there were a band...............called The Beatles.And then there were a few others (particularly 'The Kinks' - Ray Davies,what a bloke !).I'd race to buy their records and play 'em on the 'record player',only to find that my parents (Irish) had already got 'The Clancy Brothers' or 'The Dubliners' spinning around.The fight raged for months and a compromise had to be found.They listened to 'my stuff' and I 'put up with theirs'.Gradually,we all won each other over ! What sort of self-respecting teenager would go round whistling 'Whiskey In The Jar' ? And me dad humming 'Tired of Waiting'.............................. on a building site !

Then Dylan and Donovan came along to keep the peace.All history now.

Throughout the 1970's,folk music became the more dominant force.The Beatles had disbanded (Kinks were on the wane.....ish) and I started going to Folk Clubs (song and music being still my first love) and got introduced to Ceilidhs.Which I enjoyed enormously,La Russe-ing meself silly and dreaming of 'Devil's Dream' (dancers will know what I mean !).

Then in 1979,I stepped into the non-Irish world of Morris Dancing,persuaded by a few mates,amongst whom was a certain Mr John Williams.By this time I was immersed in folk music and song and it seemed a natural 'step' (sorry - couldn't resist that !).I joined a Morris side called Silurian Morris Men,led by a guy called Dave Jones.My missus was 'very pleased' !! Back then,I had no idea as to just how 'revolutionary' Dave was.I went along dutifully to practices on Monday nights - only to find that Dave was introducing so much new stuff in the way of dances called 'Border Morris' (instead of Cotswold Morris which had always been the norm).I loved it - they were a great set of blokes ( very good at 'space invaders' and pool) who loved dancing and the 'new' dances seemed to have that 'something different'.We were all like ducks to water !

That year,Silurian became 'Silurian Border Morris Men' of Ledbury,dancing out at Bromyard Folk Festival in our new kit of tattered shirts,bowler hats and blackened faces.I've remained a member of the side ever since and I'm still very proud of the side and am,currently, their Bagman and previous Squire (twice !).Dave Jones died many years back, unfortunately , prematurely young.Dave was also very much a leading light in folk music in the area and a great influence in promoting Bromyard Folk  Festival - see http://www.bromyard-folk-festival.org.uk/ amongst other things (Putley Ceilidhs,for example).Just would like to publicise my own personal thanks to Dave Jones for what he gave to so many like me and so many others ! Records will show that Dave later left the side to form another 'Border' side (called 'Not For Joe's'),in slightly acrimonious circumstances,which,in hindsight,was a great shame.

Silurian Border Morris Men are still a very active (??) side,discreet as to their whereabouts and can be found at http://www.silurianmorris.org.uk/ If such a thing as reincarnation really does happen,I would gladly return as a stick in 'Bromsberrow Heath' dance !!! (How sad is that ?)

Anyways ......................................

At about the same time,a new ceilidh band was forming in Bromyard.I used to bump into Jez and the gang in the 'Crown & Septre' pub in the town.Their band had decided to call themselves 'City Ditch' (after the archilogyyyigigigig .......col remains in Hereford). Then,shock/horror - the band had got a booking !!!!!...and they needed a caller to do it for next to nothing !! They weren't daft ! They knew that I was a Morris dancer,that I helped run,as MC,the Malvern Folk Club and loved talking ! "Mulv,all you gotta do is learn a few dances".In a slightly drunken stupor one night in the 'Crown & Septic',I readily agreed - didn't buy a drink all night !!

And that is where your history book begins......................................Almost.......

That first booking at Whitbourne Hall went surprisingly well.We got some repeat bookings.....and my knowledge of dances (and my confidence) grew steadily. Eventually,'City Ditch' disbanded (just like The Beatles did !) and went their separate ways.I started calling with a few different bands,principally with Hodges Dump,amongst whom was the same Mr John Williams mentioned above.And a certain Mr Roger Champkin.And 'Burko',the sousaphone player.......et Al Courteney

You'll have to buy the book to find out what happened next !!!!!!!!!!!

But it's about then that I got serious about 'calling' !! The agency was set up several years later,in an effort to avoid the 'haphazardness' of 'word of mouth' bookings.By this time,I had called with many different,really good bands whom I knew that I could recommend (having met just a few,along the way,whom I could never recommend !) and my contacts with many other bands developed.And so here we are today..........